Catnapped: How Tux the Cat Was Abducted by a Lyft Driver

After a Lyft driver nabbed Tux the cat in Austin, TX, her human turned to social media for help. Palash Pandey’s posts went viral, a massive search ensued, and Lyft CEO David Risher hired private investigators to locate the feline.

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The unprecedented chain of events began on September 30, 2023, when Palash Pandey ordered a Lyft to take his cat, Tux, to the vet at Banfield Pet Hospital in Austin, Texas. As he made his way around the vehicle to grab Tux, who was located on the passenger side, the driver sped off. Desperate, Palash tried to contact the driver, even offered him money to bring Tux back, but to no avail. 1

Palash then turned to Reddit and Twitter X. His posts went viral, galvanizing the online community and putting pressure on Lyft who was facing a PR cat-astrophe. If you like our content, please become a patron to get all our episodes ad-free.

After 36 hours, private investigators hired by Lyft CEO David Risher found Tux 1.2 miles away from the vet’s office, where she had been kidnapped from. She was dehydrated, covered in fleas and terrified, but otherwise unharmed. The driver has been deactivated on the Lyft platform on October 2, and the Austin Police Department are investigating the case. 2

In this episode we also discuss the legal aspect related to pets being considered property instead of sentient beings, and we look at safe alternatives to ridesharing involving human drivers: Robotaxis such as Waymo made by Alphabet and Cruise made by General Motors are looking promising.

1. palashpandey9 Need help!! Lyft driver drove off with my pet cat Reddit, October 2023 

2. Cathy Free Lyft passenger says driver took of with his cat. A Huge search ensued. The Washington Post, October 2023 

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